Record for Spanish container traffic in 2021

The statistics for 2021, as published this month by Puertos del Estado, indicate that Spain’s container trade has reached a new all-time high: 16.7 million TEU, being 5.3% more than previous year.

The increase came completely for the account of import, export and cabotage traffic, that saw it’s 2020 volume grow by 12% to 8.3 million TEU. Both Barcelona and Valencia experienced a growth rate of almost 15% for this type of container traffic.

The remainder, 9.4 million TEU, concerns transhipment traffic and this was at the same level as in 2020.  However, the ports of Algeciras and Valencia saw for the second consecutive year a drop in their transhipment traffic, with respectively 8.1% and 5.7%, while Barcelona’s transhipment traffic increased strongly by 25.2% to a new record of 1.5 million TEU.

The following table shows the details for Algeciras, Barcelona, and Valencia, that together handle 79% of Spain’s container traffic, the other ports and Spain.

Source: Data from Puertos del Estado elaborated by CLAUpartners consulting

When we compare the COVID-19 crisis with the financial crisis that started in September 2008, we see a much stronger recovery, as is clearly illustrated by the following graph showing the index for import, export and cabotage traffic for all Spanish ports, setting the index of the volume handled at 100 at the start of the period.

Source: Data from Puertos del Estado elaborated by CLAUpartners consulting

After a strong growth in March 2021, the container traffic (excl. transhipment) kept growing till September 2021, after which the index fluctuated between 110 and 115 till the end of 2021.

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